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Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three

October 3rd, 2017

I finally decided to take the plunge and get a soil test. Since my gardens grow well, and I don’t have any issues, I’ve never really gotten around to getting a soil test. As I purchased a few soil amendments last week, I decided to get a few tests done of different garden areas.


I decided to test three different areas. Test plot #1 is the half of the main garden that I have been improving for the past 5 years. Test plot #2 is the half of the main garden that has been fallow. It’s received its first mulch of compost this year, the past four years it has been fallow under a batch of wood chips. Even with these minimal efforts, the soil is much better on that side than it was 5 years ago. The half that I have actively worked on improving is much better than this half. The third test plot is the potager. This garden is actually not native soil, it was a truck load of topsoil the previous owners had laid down on a hillside where they wanted to add a garden.

I’m getting comprehensive tests for all three areas. I haven’t decided yet if I want to pay the extra $ to get the particle size testing for each plot. Overall, it’s very inexpensive, each comprehensive test is only $22 (particle size testing is an additional $20 per test plot). Stay tuned, I’ll make sure to share the results.

Have you had your garden soil tested?

One Comment to “Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three”
  1. Nebraska Dave on October 6, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Susy, I have never had soil tested. Well, I take that back. The EPA came and tested my soil for lead three years ago. It seems that 50 years ago a battery factory spewed lead into the air during the manufacturing process and it settled on the land around the factory. A special fund was set aside some 20 years ago to clean up the lead from the soil and houses. All the properties around my garden area was tested and found to have high levels of lead. The soil was removed and replaced with questionable top soil. When I bought Terra Nova Gardens I put several hundred bags of Fall yard waste containing grass and leaves that had run through the lawn mowers in the neighbor hood around me. The next year i put close to 1000 bags of more neighborhood waste. All that composted down into the already rich top soil. The third year when the EPA tested the soil, they could barely find any lead in the soil. They came back and tested the soil two more times after the initial testing. I guess they didn’t want to believe that my soil didn’t have lead in it.

    I had one bed in Terra Nova Gardens that just didn’t do well with growing vegetable plants. I did direct composting with grass clippings in that area last Fall. Basically, direct composting is a method of digging out a spade width trench about a foot deep dross wise to the bed and piling it up in a wheel barrow. Then I filled the trench with grass clippings from my home and vacant lot which were chemical free. Then I spaded the dirt next to the trench over the grass clippings which left another trench the width of the spade and a foot deep. Continuing this all the way to the end of the bed produced a bed of dirt mounded over a foot of buried grass clippings. In the Spring I covered the bed with several bags of purchased composted manure and a few handfuls of garden lime. It was dug into the soil just enough to cover the amendments up. Green pepper plants were planted there. I had so many green peppers I didn’t know what to do with them all. I think what ever the problem was in that bed was solved.

    I’ll be curious to see the difference in the three areas of the garden when you get the results.

    Have a great day in the garden and I can’t believe it’s been five years since to moved to Maine.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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